Last year, the Boston Celtics signed a 6’11 center from the D-League named Greg Stiemsma who originally was brought in for depth purposes for Boston, but turned out to be a main rotational player throughout the season. This past February, the Celtics surprised once again when they acquired Shavlik Randolph after his season in China ended. Currently, Randolph has become a fan favorite in Boston and is well on his way to becoming part of Doc Rivers’ rotation come playoff time. But in the thick of things, is Shavlik Randolph a better player throughout the course of games and in crunch time?
Stiemsma was a great rebounder for Boston last season, and many fans believe he made a mistake by not re-signing with the Celtics in the offseason. But when it comes to offensive production, it could be argued that Randolph is a better contributor off the bench, one who can finish at the rim and clean up on the offensive boards. Stiemsma on the other hand, was sometimes reluctant to go back up off missed layups and would kick the ball out to the perimeter on occasion. It’s also debatable that Rajon Rondo made him better by setting him up on the post and was giving him great looks at the basket. Randolph hasn’t had the opportunity to play with Rondo, so it’s unknown whether he’d be even better with the star point guard on the floor.
Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Randolph scored a career high 16 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Not only was he scoring off of great passes by Boston’s guards, but he crashed the boards and finished with the put back layup. He has desire and a will to rebound, which is why he’s so effective, and probably the reason his contract was extended through next season.
What’s really amazing is that he only played 13 minutes. If Randolph didn’t get into foul trouble it’s possible that he could have had a better night, especially since no on on Cleveland could stop him.
Shavlik Randolph is fighting for playing time in the playoffs. Doc hasn’t given any indication that he’ll be in his rotation yet, but after the last few weeks he deserves it. Right now, he’s the Celtics best rebounder on both ends of the floor. When Kevin Garnett returns, it would be intriguing to see if Rivers plays both of them at the same time. Between Garnett and Randolph, the rebounding problem Boston has would diminish in an instant.